Griffo’s tribute to Fr Ted

Many years ago, Redfern was a bad place to go into.

Many Kooris had to fight tooth and nail to claim a bit of land that is ours from the start.

Eora, Redfern, home of the Kooris, we were losing the battle and our dignity. When all of a sudden two powerful minds came together to be as one : Mumma-Shirley Smith and Fr Ted Kennedy.

Mumma-Shirley already knew the trouble we were in. But Fr Ted was shocked in the way Kooris were treated. Just going home from the pub was hard. Many police from all local stations come half hour before closing time.

It didn’t matter if you wasn’t drunk – if you was black – into the paddy wagon you would go.

But two minds kept on persisting for a change for the better for Kooris.

They must have talked about the things we didn’t have:

• like proper housing for families with children,
• a Medical Centre of our own,
• a recreation and playground for children,
• proper education for Kooris in schools.

This was the battle to be won, and fight they did, with help from the St Vincent’s Community. Things began to happen.

Jobs for Kooris came from all over the place, the building of the block began, the building of our own Medical Centre and a lot of dignity building back.

On behalf of Eora, Redfern, we want to thank you Mumma-Shirl and Fr Ted for giving back our dignity and culture to where it strongly belongs. HERE.

Thank you.

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